Friday, July 24, 2009

US Navy: Sailor Charged in Death of Seaman Provost

News in Balance
News from the U.S. Navy.

News in Balance:

SAN DIEGO, July 24, 2009 -- The U.S. Navy preferred charges July 23 in the case of the homicide of Boatswain's Mate Seaman August Provost, III on June 30 at the Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 compound at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

"This afternoon Gas Turbine Systems Technician Second Class Jonathan C. Campos, of Assault Craft Unit 5, was charged with violation of 16 counts of the Uniform Code of Military Justice under nine separate articles, including the murder of Boatswain's Mate Seaman August Provost, III," said Capt. Matt Brown, a Navy spokesperson for Navy Region Southwest.

According to Brown, Campos has been held in custody by the Navy since July 1 while investigators continued to gather physical evidence and sworn statements.

Charges preferred include alleged violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the military's governing law code, over a period from May 1 to July 1 including: murder of Boatswain's Mate Seaman August Provost III by shooting him with a pistol; use of illegal psilocybin mushrooms; breaking and entering into a private residence and stealing electronic equipment, jewelry and a .45 caliber pistol; driving under the influence of alcohol; attempt to commit arson; wrongful possession of firearms; unlawful entry; unlawful carrying of a concealed weapon; stealing military property; arson; unlawful handling of a deceased individual; solicitation of a civilian to murder another Navy Sailor, a master at arms assigned to ACU 5 and to vandalize the Sailor's house; and unauthorized absence.

"While the full extent of Campos' alleged behavior from early May through June 20 was not known to his superiors, the commanding officer had been notified of a June 20 DUI offense in Imperial Beach. This event was scheduled for a review by Campos' chain of command at ACU Five the week of June 29 and could have resulted in both administrative and punitive actions against Campos. Before the command took any action however, Campos allegedly set out to commit an act of material property damage against the command by setting fire to one of the Landing Craft Air Cushion, or LCAC's, the night of June 29," according to Brown.

"While allegedly attempting to gain access to the ACU Five compound Campos encountered Seaman Provost at the sentry station at which point Campos allegedly shot him multiple times. In an apparent effort to conceal evidence after Seaman Provost was shot, Campos allegedly took the sentry's firearm, and then set fire to the guard shack," continued Brown.

He also noted that the physical evidence collected to date combined with witness statements support this sequent of events.

When asked about possible hate crime allegations or ties to gang activity in the area Brown, noted that no information has been gathered to date to support allegations of a hate crime, nor have there been any ties to special circumstances for either gang or terrorist activity.

The case will be preferred to a military Article 32 investigation hearing here, the military counterpart to a Grand Jury hearing, for consideration of the charges and information collected and to then recommend the next course of action to the military justice system. According to Brown, one possible recommendation would be to refer the case to a General Court Martial, but that it was premature to say that would be the outcome of the Article 32 hearing.

"We must remember that the Navy lost a well-respected Sailor who was standing his assigned watch in his appointed place of duty. We are committed to the integrity of the investigation process and to ensuring that the indiscriminate release of information does not prejudice the military justice system in order that justice can be served. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends of Seaman Provost, and we will continue to provide support and assistance to the family," said Brown.

(Report from a Navy Region Southwest Public Affairs news release.)

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